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Bob Finlay hobo nickel

Sometimes Engravers Clown Around

Engraving is fun, but who has more fun than a clown? Carving coins, especially the American Nickel, is an art form beginning around the early 1900’s. Back then, turning a nickel into a piece of art meant food and lodging. Today, it’s a creative three-dimensional artistic expression in metal that is enjoyed by a growing number of engravers.

Kansas engraving artist Bob Finlay used his talent and gravers to carve this image of the famous clown, Emmett Kelly, as a gift for his brother. Bob said the 6 hours he spent making it were as much about fun as making a gift.

Bob used his GraverMach with a Magnum handpiece for heavy background removal and then his 901 handpiece for everything else but the finest lines which he cut with a Monarch handpiece. He made most of the features with gravers but used a punch to move metal around the lips and eyelids. The beard was deeply stippled with a sharp point. Some smoothing was done with a special abrasive stick, the Gesswein Supra Ceramic stone, which is made for mold & die work. Bob prefers not to finish his work past a certain degree of smoothness and purposely leaves some tool marks to illustrate the handwork nature of his deep sculpted style.

So, the next time you hear Bob Finlay is “clowning around” at his engraving bench, you’ll know he means. the end